Generating free traffic and organic growth is possible without purchasing paid tools. Most free traffic comes from search engines like Google and Youtube. Social media also provides a lot of opportunity for free traffic.
Organic Website traffic is a strong indicator of how well the business is doing in generating useful content for its audience. It shows the relevance of the website, increases the number of potential customers and leads to more business opportunities like paid advertising or collaborations with other brands.
In short, driving up natural organic traffic numbers is good for business whether it is an affiliate website, online coaching or a blog.
This is basic knowledge for anyone that is involved with online web marketing but few understand how to actually reach the desired numbers. It does not require buckets of money for paid ad campaigns because there are plenty of ways to generate organic traffic for free. (free meaning not paying in actual dollars, but paying in time and effort)
Here are 7 important steps for gaining free traffic and making a website more successful without a big marketing budget.
1. Create Relevant and New Content Daily
Let’s just get this one out of the way right now. The number one rule in building a successful website is creating relevant content for a specific niche. A website with the most relevant and up-to-date content is much more valuable and attractive to both readers and search engines.
There are a few key elements of a relevant website.
The first is consistent new content. Search engine crawlers deem newer content as more relevant than older content and viewers are also more interested in the most recent developments and news.
Internal backlinks is another reason why continuously adding new content to a website is important. Each new post is an opportunity to refer to an earlier published post which essentially lures a potential customer in further.
Equally important is the opportunity of external backlinks. Having several connected posts signals to google that it is trustworthy expert content which makes it more likely that you will rank for future posts.
This builds a strong external backlink portfolio which in turn signals to site crawlers that the website is an authority. The more external backlinks, the better the authority score and so the higher the ranking.
In short, a blog post that is only a few days old is more likely to gain free traffic than a blog post that is 14 months old. It provides readers with the latest news, signals expertise to other websites and increases both internal and external links which in turn improves authority and search engine ranking.
2. Use Responsive Web Design
The home computer is no longer the main place that people browse online. We have access to the internet on all sorts of platforms, now. We scroll through web pages on our smartphone during a work commute or read articles on the tablet on a free afternoon.
The different web formats puts extra pressure on those responsible for user experience, or UX, because it makes responsive web pages very important. A responsive web page automatically adjusts the format to the device being used.
A web page that is not responsive is not attractive to look at on that particular device so the potential customer quickly moves on to a web page that is responsive. In other words, they move on to the competitors.
This has to do with how we like to keep our lives as convenient as possible. Just think about how annoying it is when we have to endlessly zoom to clearly see a picture or how a simple web text becomes illegible because it gets cut off on the screen.
Every website must be responsive to get maximum free traffic potential. The reasoning behind it is simple.
The more devices that the website delivers a pleasant UX on, the more chances of visitors staying on the website. Longer website visits (lower bounce rate) is an important measure when Google decides your rankings.
Responsive design is not the easiest thing to do but there are hosts and plug-ins available if you cannot enlist the help of a professional web designer. Either way, responsive design remains a key element in conversion and UX.
3. Load Faster
Website load speed is exactly what it sounds so it is a simple concept but one that is often forgotten. This aspect of website management is closely related to responsive design and UX.
We live life on the go and for many it feels like we are always running out of time so a slow website is the last thing we want to wait for.
Research has shown that most online shoppers click away when the web page requires more than 3 seconds to load. 3 seconds sounds like no time at all but that shows how little patience potential buyers have. In short, low load speed means lower conversions.
Besides user experience and attracting longer visits, website load speed is also important for free traffic in a different way. Website load speeds is one of the factors Google uses in their ranking. Faster websites rank higher than slow loading web pages.
So, web pages with amazing expert content might still lose out to a web page with lesser quality content because it takes more time to load.
Factors affecting website load speed are image size, the server, website bandwith, plugins and web format. Addressing each of these factors speeds up the loading and so helps gain extra free traffic.
Minimize and simplify certain aspects like the code, image size, redirects, file size and plugins. Then there are a few best practices that improve load speed like caching, using Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and using a good host.
4. Trust Google Analytics
Knowing why viewers keep coming back gives key insight into what generates free traffic to a specific website. One of the best ways to find out is through Google Analytics.
Google Analytics may seem confusing at first glance but once we understand what the numbers and graphs actually mean, it becomes very clear and insightful.
Taking the time for this single step lets us know our niche market and how we can best serve their specific needs. It takes away the guess work of what kind of content generates the most views and conversions.
Through this free tool, we can check the traffic of each web page and what the viewing patterns of the visitors are. In other words, it shows what works well and what is less effective.
Both sides of the coin are important to know for strong online strategies. Perhaps there are ways to improve the web pages with less desirable results without having to create entirely new content. Also, the high performing web pages are good examples of best practices for the next post.
Besides the activity on our web page, it can also give us insight on how traffic of other websites lead back to ours. Google Analytics shows where the traffic originates from so it gives us clues on potential collaborations and important markets to focus on.
It even shows what type of devices the web page was viewed on so that we can further customize the UX to fit that specific device.
5. Don’t Skip on Quality SEO
Lately, there has been some debate on whether SEO is still effective in generating free traffic. The short answer is yes, it is still effective.
The more detailed answer is; SEO is still important in web traffic generation but the rules keep changing. In other words, Google’s and other search engine crawlers keep changing which factors they incorporate in deciding on the web ranking.
This means that online marketers and website owners must stay up to date on how the ranking is determined and adjust the web pages accordingly.
For example, key word stuffing was standard SEO procedure for a long time but the bots caught on. Now, a blog post with key word stuffing gets marked as spam and no longer adds to the website authority.
The new top strategy is using long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases or questions that are frequently searched for on search engines. The good news is that the specific long-tail keyword does not need to be repeated as often to rank well.
There are many more SEO rules and as mentioned, they are continuously changing.
This has brought about an entirely new profession – consultants or staff whose job it is to stay 100% informed on Google’s new parameters.
The low investment hack to SEO writing is making use of SEO tools like SEM Rush. If we don’t have the skills ourselves and we cannot afford to hire someone to do it for us, we can rely on affordable and sometimes even free SEO tools.
6. Have a Strong Social Media Presence
The more connections our brain can make with something, the better it stays in our memory. There is some similarity with how free traffic is generated – the more links a viewer sees, the more likely their interest is piqued and the more likely they will search for the website.
Social media is a great platform for creating new links to web pages. A strong social media presence goes a long way in driving organic traffic.
However, posting a link on every social media account available is not enough. The brand needs more exposure than that.
For blogs and businesses offering personal services, life coaching or financial advice for example, the presence should be more than a LinkedIn publishing or facebook wall posts. We become better recognized as an authority when we are also involved in the communities.
This means engaging with the audience through Twitter, joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups, joining discussions on message boards, sharing interesting snaps on Instagram related to new web content and so on.
Also, make sure that broadcasting is not the only activity because engagement is key. Reply to comments, answer questions and ask questions to the audience. The latter also gives us better insight into our target market.
7. Track the Free Traffic Tactics of Competitors
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer also applies to the digital world. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when there are already great examples of websites generating free traffic. In other words, learn from the best.
In other words, there are freely available methods for researching what works well for the competitors. It is possible to get this information through reverse engineering a competitor’s web page.
There are many aspects we can look at when reverse engineering a web page which also means that there are plenty of ways to copy strategies that gain free traffic. This is also possible without using paid tools although that might require more in-depth SEO, UX and IT knowledge.
Competitor analysis can be a time consuming task but consider that what the findings could bring – best practices and proven tactics ready to copy.
In conclusion, free traffic is possible and in most cases only requires more time. It requires research into the behind the scenes technical factors and research into the viewing patterns of consumers.
Putting these aspects together creates a fantastic online marketing strategy that boosts the organic traffic to our websites which improves the conversion rate. No large investments needed with the right knowledge.